Saturday, May 30, 2009

Star Trek: The ReBoot

My pre-concern with the new Star Trek film was that it seemed as if it was messing with the original series. Thankfully, it messes with the original series.

History: When I first discovered Star Trek, it was the early seventies. In re-runs, the entire three years was being shown episode by episode. It's not as if I could get the DVD's from Netflix and watch Season 3. The fantastic fan had to wait for television programmers to show old movies and re-runs. Legends of celluloid were created simply by lack of viewing availability. There were only a few magazines devoted to science fiction, fantasy and horror movies, namely "Famous Monsters of Filmland". God bless, 4E Ackerman. When I discovered Star Trek, thankfully I also discovered comic conventions and fandom. Before Star Wars popped the entertainment bubble wide open for the fantastic fan, only Star Trek had audience enough to provide the fandom ephemera that is so standard today.

I watched Star Trek every weeknight for four months. My family hated me. And I loved it. But by the time the first movie came out, things had already begun to change. I found that first Star Trek film boring, by the standards of a fourteen year old who was firmly in the Star Wars camp by then. When The Next Generation came around, maybe eight years later, I watched it a little. I liked it. But it just was not the same as those early days. I know there were other shows and other movies, but it seemed like endless Hollywood recycle once again.

So - I was told I should see this new Star Trek. I was wary - I saw the trailer, with Kirk speeding in the old car particularly jarring for me. I was then told again to see it - and everyone else then told me to see it. Everyone that said this was someone whose opinion I trusted. So -

By re-booting the original show, they made a very fun film. I had not seen an episode in many years, but as a formative influence, it all stuck in my head. This film played on many of the lines and dynamics of the original and because of that I found it mighty fun. One of my favorite original episodes is "The Menagerie", a two part episode in which Captain Pike is disfigured and disabled, and Spock is on trial for helping him. In the new film, I thought they honored Pike well, even showing him in the wheelchair again, but this time, still able to talk. Pretty cool.

Mostly, everything was played for a laugh. Which is OK, I guess, as I laughed and enjoyed most everything. But then again, is it really funny to still be making fun of Chekov's accent? The voice recognition gag was funny though...

Mythically speaking, the cosmic birth of Kirk was well-done, though perhaps a bit dramatic. A fellow student wrote this spot-on review, basically speaking to the Spock/Kirk dynamic of the film.

But here's the real problem I had - the original show to which ample homage is being paid was not a duality. Kirk and Spock had a go-between, a heart that was between Spock's mind and Kirk's penis. His name was McCoy - Bones - a huge part of the show that is generally neglected. Just as McCoy is neglected in the new film. When he first shows up on screen, drinking from a flask, I thought he was supposed to be Scotty. He is then played for laughs - cantankerous, giving out his famous "I'm a doctor, not a..." line, but never becoming the third piece to the puzzle that he was in the show. See "The City on the Edge of Forever" and "For the World is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky". Bones was real, and he was needed to mediate at all times. Here's to DeForest Kelley.

I am definitely grateful that William Shatner was not in it, though.


emma said...

told ya. You're right about Bones, tho.

Priscilla said...

Great observation about Bones. Someone has to be the connective body between those two.